Sunday, December 2, 2007

Installing the Newest ATI Driver with AIGLX

ATI's fglx video driver an be installed in two different ways in Ubuntu.

The first method installs the driver using Ubuntu's default fglx driver that is maintained in the officially supported restricted repository. It is as simple as selecting a box in the Restricted Driver Manager or synaptic and Ubuntu configures everything. This method gives you a stable driver with bug fixes. The only draw back is that you don't get the newest drivers. ATI releases a new driver just about every month and lately the ATI fglx driver has seen a major overhaul. The only way to install the newest fglx driver is to use the second method.

The other method involves you downloading and compiling the driver yourself. This method gives you the newest driver but doesn't give you any bug fixes or automatic configuration. What it will give you is a chance to use ATI Catalyst 7.11 driver which uses AIGLX. AIGLX allows you to run hardware accelerated rendering over the GLX protocol, eliminating the need to use XGL for hardware acceleration. AIGLX support is built into xorg and allows for a faster, less buggy Compiz Fusion experience. There is a great HowTo written on the Unofficial ATI Linux Driver Wiki, I couldn't have written a better guide.

...or You Could Use Envy
Envy will download the newest ATI fglx driver and automatically install and configure it for you. It does all the steps that are outlined in the Unofficial ATI Linux Driver Guide. It incredible easy and safe.

Step 1
Download Envy

Step 2
Uninstall any previous ATI fglx drivers you have installed. If you installed fglx driver via the Restricted Driver Manager all you need to do is go to System->Administration->Restricted Driver Manager and unselect the enable box.
You will have to reboot for the changes to take effect.

To test if you have properly uninstalled the old ATI driver
In a terminal type:

You should see something similar to this:
OpenGL vendor string: Mesa project:
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa GLX Indirect
OpenGL version string: 1.4 (2.1 Mesa 7.0.1)
(You do not want to see any mention of the ATI driver only mesa)

You also need to uninstall xserver-xgl
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get remove xserver-xgl

Step 3 - Install Envy
Double click the .deb package you downloaded to install Envyinstalling_envy

Step 4 - Use Envy To Install Driver
To start Envy Go to Applications->System Tools->Envy.
Select the Install ATI Driver Option.
You will have to reboot for the changes to take effect.

Step 5 - Confirm it Works
In a terminal type:

You should see this output:
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon Xpress Series
OpenGL version string: 2.1.7059 Release

Go to the Restricted Drivers Manager (System->Administration->Restricted Driver Manager). You should see the ATI driver in use but the enable box unselected.


Congrats You're done!

* Note Suspend & Hibernate still do not work on the Dell 1501, even with the newer ATI drivers.
edited by pHreaksYcle


Shalom said...

do i have to reinstall compiz or something?

redDEAD said...

you do not need to reinstall compiz, just go to Appearance and select the correct visual effects.

Med said...

This driver is a real improvement, now i can play World of Warcraft under Ubuntu really smoothly. with the old one i couldn't do much, the 3d acceleration and opengl in games sucked. :)
Thanks for the updates, you do a nice job keeping writing news about dell 1501 and ubuntu :) keep it up dude

Mihai Balan said...

any idea of an ETA for a driver allowing both OpenGL and hibernate/suspend? :)

redDEAD said...

I don't know, I wasn't able to get the ATI driver working in Heron, so I don't know if it's going to be fixed for the next release. It's ATI's fault not Ubuntu, email them and bug them.

Nick said...

This seems to be a bit of an improvement, but is anyone else finding that the xgl setup is still a bit smoother, at least for compiz? (which is all I use it for really)

Alexandre said...

yeah firefox is agonizingly slow with compiz for me now. But I wasn't able to have a transparent cube and 3d windows with the old xgl setup without having massive lag.

Pablo said...

The driver is a real improvement to gamers, now I can play warcraft 3 as nicely as i played in windows.

But i have to agree with Nick, i'm feeling that compiz-beryl is slower now

Dmitriy said...

If you want your hibernate/suspend get to work, you should recompile your kernel and choose SLAB, but not SLUB(as it goes for default) memory allocator.

And more news. Recently there was discoverred some hidden feature in this new driver package! It's undocumented. If after instllation you do sudo gedit /etc/xorg.conf and to Section "Device" add this string Option "TexturedXrender" "true"
you can improve your 2D rendering! So, you should really try this.

Dmitriy said...

yea, you can read about this here

Amaury said...

I might be one of the few getting this, red... But I installed Envy and proceeded to upgrade to the newest version of ATI's drivers, and for some weird reason, my /etc/xorg.conf is empty (yet fglrxinfo comes up with the correct drivers being installed), as well as Some weird "picture noise" keeps coming up on the screen, sometimes to the bottom right of the screen, as well as sometimes when I click on things.
When I run 3d intensive stuff, such as Google Earth (which wasn't working before under an XGL setup, and is working now under an AIGLX), I have to disable the effects COMPLETELY in order to have it work, otherwise the google-earth screen will flicker.

And if I have the effects turned on (compiz), video will only play while in fullscreen. Used it on Totem, Mplayer and VLC, all to the same result.

As soon as I turn them off, it works fine again.

If I use 3d too much though, the computer goes blank screen (black), and one has to restart (ctrl, alt, backspace).

It's funny cause it was a brand new install of Gutsy, and I didn't screw around with it, I just installed Envy and let it do its thing.

Help please!! :) thanks.

redDEAD said...


The driver is not perfect, it's still heavily under development. AIGLX just was incorporated into fglx two months ago. I still think it works better than XGL, worts and all. Try toning down your Compiz settings for better preformance.

Alejandro Sánchez said...

I'm getting the same "picture noise" described by amaury (always in the bottom right corner), does anyone is having the same problem?

Pablo said...

alejandro: im also having the same artifacts, in the lower right corner and when i click certain areas. Sadly using the undocument option
Option "TexturedXrender" "true"
did nothing, compiz is still slow as hell

redDEAD said...

How much RAM do you guys have? I'm not experiencing any speed issues with AIGLX. BTW I have 1.5G

Alexey Zavizionov said...

Thanks for post!

First I try to install "Install the ATI driver", but ubuntu started with white screen.
Next, I try to install "Install the ATI driver Manually" with version "8.40.4"
That's works and it looks faster.

But, I can't apply any visual effects, just it informs me that "Desktop effects could not be enabled"

Any suggestion?

Thanks in advance.

José María said...

Hey Red! First of all I have to tell you that your blog is a permanent bookmark in firefox and it helped me in configure ubuntu on my dell much more than you think...
Just a couple of questions:
do you know if it's recommended to increase the memory of the radeon x200 via reconfiguring the xserver?could it be dangerous for my card?
i coannot install those drivers with envy. when I reboot and everything seems to work perfectly if I tip xfglinfo it says mesa is still alive, and when I check the restricted driver manager ATI is checked, despite I did not check it.
Do you know waht could it be?
thanks for you work, it's helping a lot of people

redDEAD said...


pHreaksYcle, ubuntu1501's editor, had the same problem when he tried to use envy on an old install. He had installed the fglx driver via the restricted driver manager first and got the same error. When he tried on a fresh install it worked no problems. Maybe a fresh install might work.

Amaury said...

In answer to your question Red - I have 1.5 Gig Ram as well - DDR2 SO-DIMM at 533 mhz.... (by the way did yours come with Crappy "NANYA" memory?) I could be wrong about the crappy, it's just a brand I'd never heard of before.

My Compiz works fast, no problem. The only thing is I get the flickery thingies I was mentioning.

Not too annoying, I definitely want to hold out for the new drivers, for whenever they come out. (hopefully soon).

Red - a suggestion for a Post: there's a wondrous utility for faxing (the only good use I guess several users would have for a Conexant Modem in this DSL age), it's called efax-gtk (sudo apt-get install efax-gtk). It installs under office.

You'd also need to install a PPP dialer called Gnome PPP so you can find out where your modem is at.

it's something weird, (not /dev/modem), rather something like /dev/TTYs01FH... (I just made up the suffix, take it at face value.

Summing up, all you have to do is enter the right /dev "port", and you can send and receive faxes beautifully.

For those who work and sometimes need rudimentary things such as faxes, for those pesky AT&T, or Charter calls where you "HAVE!" to send a fax to customer service to let them know of an address change, or whatever... It could come in useful.

Not at home, but I will definitely post again and give you the details. I have it ready on my ubuntu box. I dunno. It seemed like it could be put to good use.

dizzy said...

Re: bottom right hand corner screen noise.

It looks like it's an acknowledged driver bug and there is a fix which I have just put in and am testing.

Add this line to /etc/X11/xorg.conf in the driver section for the flgrx driver.

Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "on"

Then CTRL-Alt-Backspace to restart X. The comments seem to suggest it works but I will have to wait and see. Will update in a few days if it hasn't happened again.

Amaury said...

In Reply to Dizzy's comment - it worked beautifully. It's up and running, and Compiz works GREAT on my 1501 with 2 gig 533 mhz ram.

Alexey Zavizionov said...

BTW, that new driver is fixed problem with fonts in games, which I have described here

Igor said...

Some words about suspend/hibernate:
On in comments to new driver release i found this (translation):
"If hibernate don't work on Ubuntu 7.10 with XPress 200M try this
sudo gedit /etc/default/acpi-support

and change parameters in file to match this:



I've tried it, but it not works for me. Also i've tried to play with various parameters in this file and fail hibernate to work. But i'm using 7.11, not 7.12 driver. And our card is not XPress 200M. So... May be i'm unlucky and this solution will help someone.

DreXLSD said...

Hi. I accidentally selected "enable the driver" in the restricted drivers after having done everything with envy. not ubuntu won't even start... it freezez at "running local boot scripts(/etc/rc.local) [OK]".
what should i do?!

redDEAD said...


sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

Just hit enter and select the defaults as you go through the prompts.

Ken said...

Catalyst 7.12 includes the new fglrx driver release of 8.4443. It fixes the suspend/hibernate problem, or at least it did for me.... sort of. I can suspend fine. I could only hibernate by using s2disk, although that's not that big of an issues as I configured gnome to run that command instead of HAL when I hibernate via the Gnome Power Manager.

I posted up a comment about how i did it in another blog on here.

grathganor said...

thank you worked like a charm

Igor said...

A little addition to my previous post:
Add one more string to acpi-support
And this will fix Suspend/Hibernate. Tested with 7.12 release.
Taken from

Christopher said...

Does anyone have video playback via Xv working with fglrx driver and Compiz enabled?

Abo said...

Using envy I've just upgraded my driver to the last release, and now all work fine (suspend to disk and suspend to ram). The only thing worst is that Compiz seem slower,for example, when I play video or I have mamy windows opened and I use grafical effect. I theink this is due to the Xgl server (I've not yet deleted it to pass to the aiglx support introduced with the last drivers)
I hope this help

r4wMUnt34q said...

Hey guys,

I have no new problems since installing the new ATI driver, but I still can't run the Avant window navigator. I love the animated dock-panel bar and would really love to have one. It (AWN) also requires AIGLX and I thought it would be ok now, but it isnt. Is there any way I can enable AIGLX or is it already enabled ? Have any of you got the AWN running ?

r4wMUnt34q said...

I got it (AWN) working afterall, about 70 % of my 1 GB RAM is consumed, but everything seems to be working well so far. I got a bunch of Screenlets also and I wonder how often my compiz crashes in the future, I hope I wont have to remove something. Im gonna try to get Desktop Clock working, maybe I would have to buy some more RAM :)

Igor said...

New driver release is out. Here is FINALLY fixes problems with suspend/hibernate.
For this check out /etc/default/acpi-support


Also glxgears added nearly 15-20% of fps. XV out with compiz still not working. But if you want to have composite manager working natively on Xorg, try this:
In /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "Enable"
Option "RENDER" "Enable"

In terminal:
sudo apt-get install xcompmgr transset

xcompmgr -c &
or xcompmgr -cCfF -r7 -o.65 -l-10 -t-8 -D7 &
Try to play with parameters.
To disable:
killall xcompmgr

But it will cause load not to video card, but on processor. But all with this composite manager works fine. Even XV.

Taken from

racoon97 said...

With latest Envy script, I get this error when try to enable Desktop Effects : "Desktop effects could not be enabled"
Could you post your xorg.conf please ?

Aleksandr said...

When I tried to use ATI driver (both approaches), I ran into several problems. E.g. glxgeers show me only about 50FPS, to say nothing about suspend/hibernate.
Now I'm using default ubuntu drivers.
I do not recommend any of you to use ATI drivers. In addition, when I had tried to use envy to uninstall them, my computer stopped booting.
P.S. Excuse me for my English, it's my first English post :)

FENix said...

I've solved the problem mentioned in my previous post. The thing was in ATI 3D settings. I set them to the highest quality level and that's why I got low FPS. Could you advise me what is the best balance for my card (Radeon Xpress 1150, 128Mb, [inspiron1501]) ?

FENix said...

I've solved my problems with ATI proprietary driver. The thing was in 3D settings in amdcccle. I set very big quality level)
But now there is some problem, which isn't fixed yet. When I try to restart X server it shows me a black screen. In
addition it doesn't react on my keys pressed (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-F1, Ctrl-Alt-Bacspase, etc.). And I should reboot my computer. Any ideas how to fix this?

Alexey Zavizionov said...


I downloaded new version of Envy and install manually driver version 8.40.4

Suspend/Hibernate works.


FENix said...

I experience a new problem now. I just can't watch full-screen movies 'cos my Xorg server loads the full CPU. When I watch movies with a small screen my CPU is
overloaded too, but the film isn't slow. Despite this glxgeers give me about 1000 FPS. What's wrong with my driver (the newest ATI driver (AIGLX))? Thank you for answer

lil0tik said...

Hey, a quick question for all -

The newest ATI drivers fix (in Vista) some serious audio problems on the 1501, specifically, very annoying pops, clicks, and static through the headphone port. Has anyone who has installed the newest ATI drivers in Ubuntu noticed if it fixed the sound issues?

I'll get rid of my dual boot & go to Ubuntu-only as soon as I can get the dang audio to be less noisy! And, BTW, thanks so much for this blog - I'd never have gotten my Ubuntu install running so smoothly without it!

David said...

Should be worth mentioning that a newer Envy version is available that will install newer drivers.

I have to say that the 7 11 drivers are awful for compiz, I don't want any window effects, just to be able to use the AWN dock, but when i enable the desktop effects everything drags and firefox scrolling is unbearable.

The newer drivers just plain don't work with desktop effects at all!

The linux support by ATi is diabolical, I really regret getting a laptop with an ati chipset :(

Marcelo said...


Did you get hibernate/suspend to work with any fix posted here? I have the same Hardware than you but didn't succeeded.

Thank you for all this work your do!!

all the best,

Drew said...

The only way to get Suspend working is to use the default video driver instead of the ATI one, but it's slower and compiz will not work.

Marcelo said...

suspend is working thank to this post:

read Ken's comment

FENix said...

Hi, guys! I've just downloaded and installed the newest ATI proprietary drivers. It seems to be an improvement. I can even watch movies now =) And 3d rendering is better, also it added a bit to FPS. But I still can't restart X server without rebooting :(

redDEAD said...


Which did you install? I installed the ATI 8.03 drivers and have no problem loging in and out, it just doesnt allow me to run compiz and watch videos at the same time.

Joe said...

Hey guys. How did you install the new driver? I've tried with absolutely no success.

Paul said...

Help! I try to install envy but I just get one dependency error after another. Are there any specific packages I need to have installed first?

Ben said...

whenever i downloaded Envy i get an error beside Status that says Dependency is not satisfiable: xserver-xorg-dev

What does this mean? Furthermore whenever I try to enable the restricted device driver I get an error that says xorg-driver-fglrx is not enabled. WTF is going on?

Brad said...

i get that too and would really like and answer. i love ubuntu but am thinking of switching back to vista if i cant get this to work.

Brad said...

hey guys, i have a solution that works perfectly. youve gotta go to
system > administration > software sources
and enable restricted driver downloads

Registration said...

Hi All,

I'm a complete novice in linux but have strong determination to learn it and leave Microshit for good.
Was trying to install ATI but couldn't succeed till now. Guys with you help I hope I must be able to install it + compiz as well

root@ubuntu9:/home/moosa# lspci | grep "ATI"
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV280 [Radeon 9200 PRO](rev 01)
01:00.1 Display controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV280 [Radeon 9200 PRO] (Secondary) (rev 01)

root@ubuntu9:/home/moosa# glxinfo
name of display: :0.0
X Error of failed request: BadRequest (invalid request code or no such operation)
Major opcode of failed request: 143 (GLX)
Minor opcode of failed request: 19 (X_GLXQueryServerString)
Serial number of failed request: 10
Current serial number in output stream: 10
root@ubuntu9:/home/moosa# fglrxinfo
X Error of failed request: BadRequest (invalid request code or no such operation)
Major opcode of failed request: 143 (GLX)
Minor opcode of failed request: 19 (X_GLXQueryServerString)
Serial number of failed request: 10
Current serial number in output stream: 10

Thank you all

redDEAD said...

Amaury posted this but I accidentally rejected it.

Hi there - to fix your issue "Registration", :
in a terminal, sudo apt-get install envy-ng-gtk

Once installed, go to Applications>System>Envy, go through the install process, and Robert's your uncle.

Amaury said...

Hi - it's a good thing you did, since it's actually wrong, the code should read:

sudo apt-get install envyng-gtk
or if you prefer QT as your gui,
just replace with
sudo apt-get install envyng-qt (it makes no difference really, it's just the GUI frontend that looks mildly different)

(originally it says envy-ng-gtk, my bad. Tip, though, if you're in terminal and you're not sure what the name of a package is, just type what you do know, and press tab a number of times until you get a list of all the possibilities.

as in: sudo apt-get install envy(TAB)(TAB)(TAB) and you get the list:

envy envyng-core envyng-gtk envyng-qt